12 Most Overlooked “Pitch” Strategies
Looking for an angel investor, extra funding – or a greenlight on your screenplay? Accelerate the path to “YES” with this post from the national elevator pitch champion. When the subject is money, your elevator pitch has to go all the way to the executive suite. Here’s Chris Westfall, with secrets on how to “pitch” to investors like a pro.
1. Know your content
Knowledge shows competence; competence breeds confidence. Everyone in the room wants to know, “Why You? Why This? Why Now?” Understand your business model and convey that understanding to erase any doubts in the room.
2. Show some salesmanship
What’s your unique value proposition? How is the world better, if you write the pilot, build the prototype, or receive the donation? You should be able to boil down your unique pitch to two minutes or less, when you lead with your “Why?”.
3. Relate to your audience
Get to know the room, by talking with everyone before your pitch (if you can). Do your homework, so you know that your pitch fits the room.
4. Back off on “I”
Phrase your results in terms of others. People who pitch with “I-me-my” say a lot about their management style – and none of it is good. Investors are looking for someone who can rally a team, not a one-man band.
5. Keep your cool
Even if you understand every bit and byte of your high-tech gadget, don’t expect others to grasp it as easily. As one VC investor said, “If you get angry and say, ‘You just don’t get it!’ that’s exactly what I’ll say when you ask for my money…”
6. Be transparent
You can’t bluff when you lay your cards out on the table. Don’t duck tough questions. If you can’t answer, at least be honest and provide a timeframe for getting back in touch.
7. Never contradict in a group presentation
If you’ve got a partner, then be a true partner. Rehearse with each other, and make determinations on who will say that – that goes for Q&A as well. The mantra of “No surprises” from inside the team will make for a cohesive presentation.
Investors want to know that you can deliver. Once you’ve answered the “Why?” it’s time to move to “How”. What assurances can you provide that you will be a good steward of the proposed investment?
9. Walk through it
While your initial pitch may be less than two minutes, the key business issues require greater detail. Step your investors through the obstacles and how you plan to overcome them. Being realistic is the key to being funded – supporting your revenue projections shows your foresight to the group, and generates confidence.
Without passion, no business gets off the ground. Are you certain you are able to convey your commitment to making this work? Consider the ways that you would prove your commitment; investors look for that right along with the financial statements.
11. Be specific
Any pro forma projections will carry a built-in uncertainty. Specifics support your business case, and show how you are preparing for the future.
12. Don’t sound canned
Cheesy or formulaic pitches are no substitute for real rapport. People invest in people they know, because they know they can get the job done. Be candid, not canned, and you give yourself every opportunity to succeed.
Featured image courtesy of Stephen Poff licensed via creative commons.